My Day in the O.R.

Entrance to St. Maarten Medical Center

After dressing up this morning in a nice button-up shirt with khakis and a newly-washed AUC-logo-ed white coat, little did I know that in 20 minutes I’d be asked to remove them and put on a pair of green scrubs, face mask, and hair knit. I was going into the operating room today.

This was the second of the two 4-hour rotations that I am doing for Introduction to Clinical Medicine 5, a course we all take during our fifth semester here at AUC. I signed up for general surgery because it’s just something I’ve never experienced or seen before (except on TV). Plus, I’ve always been interested in anatomy, after spending so many semesters in the dissection lab on campus, and so naturally, I wanted to get a taste of surgery.

The surgeon I shadowed today was Dr. Holiday, who had a built stature and a very dominant presence. When I first met him, I was a little intimidated. But as big and strong of a guy as he was, he had the most gentle and careful fingers when performing his trade. My experience today really made me appreciate surgery.

The surgery rotation wasn’t nearly as busy as the emergency medicine rotation I did two weeks ago, where I saw 15 different cases. This time, I saw 6 different procedures performed, including keloid removal, lipoma removal, benign tumor removals, and Dupuytren’s contracture surgery. The greatest thing I learned is that surgery is an art. It is an art that involves mastery and craft, something that comes through both experience and talent. From how deep to cut, to how much to remove, to how to suture things back up, and to how to patch things up for the healing process to come, and every step by Dr. Holiday was done with concentration, care, and precision. That level of concentration and effort makes the finished work of each surgical procedure beautiful. And of course, the greatest beauty comes from the improved lives of the patients.